Albay officials worried over Mayon evacuees

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LEGAZPI CITY: Five lawmakers from Albay province are worried over the conditions evacuees have to endure at evacuation sites, and even doubt on whether Mayon volcano will indeed erupt almost a month after Alert Level 3 was declared by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).

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The heightened alert level has prompted the provincial government to order the evacuation of more than 56,000 residents living near the areas around Mayon, that have resulted to various health problems for evacuees mainly from poor sanitation, lack of food and water supply, and insufficient comfort room facilities.

Representatives Fernando Gonzalez ( 3rd District), Al Francis Bichara (2nd District), and Edcel Lagman Jr., (1st District) said they all felt bad after seeing the hapless condition of the evacuees who have been staying in humid and overcrowded 46 evacuation centers for more than a month now.

“Ask the evacuees and they would readily tell you of their willingness to return home even as they also expressed belief that Mayon may eventually settle down and not erupt anymore” one of the lawmakers said.

Gov. Joey Salceda of Albay on Monday declared that the provincial government and the municipalities affected by the evacuation have no more calamity funds to support the evacuees.

On Sunday some 21,000 food packs arrived at Albay and were distributed to evacuees.

Department of Social Welfare and Development Regional Director Ariel Garcia said a food pack received by each family in evacuation centers is good for three days, adding the agency is hopeful that the promised 540,000 food packs good for 90 days with a budget total of P270 million would soon be delivered to Albay by the national government.

Rep. Christopher Co Ako Bicol party-list said he talked to many evacuees and “feel their pathetic situation in crowded evacuation centers.” He noted that the bulk of the evacuees came from within the 7- to 8-kilometer expanded danger zone with the 6-kilometer radius having been declared permanent danger zone.

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